Chicago Cubs Projections for Twenty-Ten: The Starting Staff

The second of the CCO’s three-part series on the Chicago Cubs Projections for Twenty-Ten will center on Lou Piniella’s starting staffPart one focused on Lou Piniella’s starting eight.

With Ted Lilly beginning the season on the DL, the starting rotation has as many question marks as the rest of the roster. The Cubs are rumored to be interested in Ben Sheets to fill one of the voids in the rotation. With Lilly and a healthy Ben Sheets, the Cubs could end up with one of the best rotations in the National League.

Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster will anchor the staff out of Spring Training with Randy Wells penciled in as the Cubs’ third starter. Wells is projected as a better fit at the back of a rotation, not in the middle of a rotation for a team with aspirations of winning a division title.

Jim Hendry recently said he was comfortable going into camp with Jeff Samardzija, Sean Marshall, Mike Parisi, Tom Gorzelanny and Carlos Silva competing for the final two spots. Another name to keep an eye on is Thomas Diamond … the former first round pick of the Texas Rangers received a non-roster invitation to Spring Training on Wednesday.

The CHONE projections for the upcoming season were recently released and provide a little more insight of what type of year may be in store for Piniella’s starters.

Here’s a look at the pitchers Lou Piniella will have to chose from for his starting rotation … as the roster is currently constructed.

Part Two: The Starting Staff

No one is certain when Ted Lilly will return. The optimistic timetable is mid to late April. Without any setbacks Lilly should return to the rotation, realistically, by May 1. Any setback of more than a couple of days can turn May 1 quickly into June 1 … that is the problem with shoulder surgery. No matter how hard the player works to get back on the mound, delays can happen.

The Cubs will need Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster to step up … plus Randy Wells to pick up where he left off last season, something easier said than done.

Here is how the Cubs projected starters performed a year ago:

CubsStartingStaff-2009stats.jpg
(Click on Image to Enlarge)

  • K/9 – Strikeouts per 9 Innings
  • BB/9 – Walks per 9 Innings
  • BABIP – Batting Average on Balls in Play
  • WHIP – Walks + Hits divided by Innings Pitches
  • FIP – Fielder Independent Pitching on an ERA scale

Full Projections from Fangraphs.com
Stat Explanations from Fangraphs.com

For comparison, here are the projected numbers for the starting staff from Bill James and CHONE.

CubsStartingStaff-ChoneBJ10.jpg
(Click on Image to Enlarge)

  • K/9 – Strikeouts per 9 Innings
  • BB/9 – Walks per 9 Innings
  • BABIP – Batting Average on Balls in Play
  • WHIP – Walks + Hits divided by Innings Pitches
  • FIP – Fielder Independent Pitching on an ERA scale

Full Projections from Fangraphs.com
Stat Explanations from Fangraphs.com

Bill James projected Carlos Zambrano to post three more wins next season … but CHONE is projecting a .500 season for Big Z and a majority of the Cubs staff. The Cubs are expecting a lot out of Carlos Zambrano … but neither Bill James nor CHONE is projecting big seasons out Zambrano, Dempster and the rest of projected starters.

Note from the CCO: Please keep in mind these are only projections. There is a reason they play the games … not too many teams perform the way they do on paper.

Coming Soon:

  • Part Three: The Bench and The Bullpen

Chicago Cubs Projections for Twenty-Ten

Quote of the Day

"You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old." - George Burns
Share on Fancred